West Chester University held its annual Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF) walk “Great Strides” April 26, 2008. There are 17 teams signed up to walk, and over 300 walkers expected. This will be the twentieth year nationally for Great Strides.Cystic Fibrosis, known as (CF), is a genetic disease that one in 2,000 babies are born with, effecting the lungs and the digestive system. Mucus builds up on the organs such as the lungs, making it hard to breathe causing chronic lung infections, and can obstruct the pancreas and stops natural enzymes from helping the body break down and absorb food according to medical journals.
The “Great Strides” walk is dedicated to taking steps to finding a cure for Cystic Fibrosis. The foundation has over 500 walk sites and West Chester is just one that is taking part this year with a goal of $73,000 for this years walk, so far the teams collectively have raised $36,448. In 2007, $34 million was raised nationwide during the Great Strides events.
Every year, the walk starts with registration and a warm up, this year ACAC fitness will be leading the warm-up, followed by the Downingtown West Cheerleaders performing. Then the walk will start at 11 a.m., the teams will walk one mile around campus for as long as they would like and then lunch will be served by Carlino’s.
There will also be a DJ, and a kids corner with “Mad Science,” a Chinese raffle, and a few other fun activities. Also the names of all the teams will be written on paper roses and put in the ground to represent 65 Roses which is another name for Cystic Fibrosis because little kids can not pronounce Cystic Fibrosis.
The walk was started in 1989 and since then has raised over $180 million to support research and care programs of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
Amongst the teams this year West Chester’s sorority Delta Phi Epsilon will be taking part in helping raise awareness and money for the cure!
Teams are really stepping up the fundraising this year, Robin Clark, the Director of Special Events for the CFF sent out a email letting everyone know who was going over and beyond. The team leader for Maddie’s Sunshine Team put together a “Mini” Great Strides at her daughter Maddie’s school, Pickering Valley Elementary, and all 750 students walked for Cystic Fibrosis and for Maddie on April 14 to raise money for their Great Strides.
Malena Martinez, Team Leader for Malena’s Boutique, has gotten a number of businesses in downtown West Chester involved this year. She has asked businesses to get involved by donating $30 towards her Great Strides Team in exchange for placing their business card on a flyer. Malena has signed up 19 businesses, Clark said.
The work put into these fundraising events is paying off, a press release by Vertex’s Pharmaceuticals incorporated on March 27, 2008 stated that “VX-770, and oral drug in development that targets a basic defect in CF, showed promising results in an ongoing Phase 2a clinical trial for patients who carry the G551D mutation of CF.”
For more information and to find out how you can start making a difference to the lives of people living with CF, please go to www.CFF.org.
Katie Moyer is a fourth-year student majoring in professional studies. She can be reached at KM604798@wcupa.edu.